Recently, the U.S. FWS released their plans to save the bull trout populations that have seen a dramatic decline within the past 50 years. They were listed as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1999, after their numbers suffered grave losses.
Due to human-caused habitat loss, such as the construction of dams, and purposeful fishing in order to save salmon population, the bull trout has reached the brink of extinction. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have made plans to begin their recovery and enlist them from the ESA.
The agency plans on restoring their populations in Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. They are native species to the streams around the Northwest, and are natural predators of their environment. The bull trout require cold, clear waters in order to thrive, so the officials have claimed that the removal of trees and vegetation has fueled their problems.
Climate change and the rising temperatures of waters also pose as an issue, along with the building of barriers and dams. It prohibits them from travelling upstream where they more often choose to spawn.
Their plan is to increase both water clarity and secure a safe stream habitat for the fishes to once again bloom. According to Rollie White, deputy supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in one of the targeted states, each place might see slightly different methods.
While in some they will focus on water quality, in others they will remove barriers that blocks their passage. This is in their effort to properly understand what needs to happen in order to bring the bull trout population back to secure numbers.
However, not all are excited about the FWS’s plan of recovery.
Mike Garrity of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, has expressed himself to be disappointed with the published methods of bringing back their numbers. Garrity, who has sued the FWS first to get the bull trout on the ESA, and then to make the agency to come up with a recovery plan that will get them removed, has shown skepticism.
He has stated that “it’s an extinction plan, not a recovery plan”, that will not serve the population of bull trout at all. In fact, it will inflict further damage.
According to Garrity, the plan will only serve to lower the bar and remove all bull trout population standards. This way, he said, the FWS will be able to “delist the bull trout without recovering them”.
Image source: hcn.org